Three things can make a dramatic difference in onboarding success:
(1) Get a head start before the start
(2) Take control of your message
(3) Build a high-performing team
I’ve described them in other posts and in our first book, “The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan”. The question for today is how can you get leverage in these onboarding basics.
GET A HEAD START BEFORE THE START
The critical factor here is time. Preparation breeds success. The more preparation you can make time for, the more successful you’ll be. But it must be the right preparation, with a real emphasis on understanding where to play and what matters from the BRAVE leadership framework (Environment and Values). So,
• Make sure there’s adequate time between acceptance and start
• Skip the vacation to devote more time to preparation
• Get others to send you materials you’ll need (to save time on digging them up yourself)
• Get others to manage as much of the pre-start administration as you can
• Get others to help you think through your onboarding plan (like your boss, someone from HR, an outside coach)
• Invest your time in jump-starting relationships and learning
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR MESSAGE
The critical factor here is the message itself. It is the fulcrum that with your communication points forms your communication lever. I have not met one single executive who was able to craft his or going-in message on their own. You will need help with this: from your boss, HR, a trusted advisor. So much pivots off your message, story, and choices around how to win (Attitude in the BRAVE leadership framework) that it’s worth investing time and energy to get it right.
BUILD A HIGH-PERFORMING TEAM
The critical point of leverage here is simply to focus energy on building the team over your early days. If you don’t, you’ll wake up all too soon to realize that your team’s weakness is hurting your progress. There are lots of ways to do this. The way we describe in “The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan” leverages five core tools: imperative, milestones, early wins, role sort, and communication. But this is just one way. Leadership is all about inspiring and enabling others. You must connect with others to drive the impact you need. (Relationships and Behaviors in the BRAVE leadership framework. Get help. Help others. Get it done.